‘Ms. Marvel’ Added a Huge Missing Piece of Marvel Into the MCU
The following post contains SPOILERS for Ms. Marvel.
So that’s why they changed Kamala Khan’s powers.
The party line from Marvel in the months leading up to the premiere of Ms. Marvel was that they had tweaked Ms. Marvels powers — from the ability to stretch and grow parts of her body to control over energy from another dimension — because her comic-book origins were different from her Marvel Cinematic Universe origins. In Marvel Comics, Kamala Khan is an Inhuman like Black Bolt, and she gets her powers from a strange substance called Terrigen Mists. On the Ms. Marvel TV show, Kamala is a descendent of a being known as a Clandestine, who came to our world from another part of the multiverse.
At least, that was what the early episodes of the show revealed. In the Ms. Marvel finale, a scene reveals more information. Kamala may be part Clandestine, but her genetics are different from the rest of her family. And her DNA includes [dramatic pause] a “mutation.”
That’s right, Kamala Khan is a mutant — and mutants are in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And where there are mutants there are X-Men. Cue the theme music!
(They literally did cue the X-Men theme music on the show — listen carefully and you’ll hear a few notes of the animated X-Men theme, just like when Professor Xavier made his cameo in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.)
Ms. Marvel couldn’t be an Inhuman on her show, because she”s now a mutant.Why a mutant couldn’t have stretching and embiggening powers, that I couldn’t tell you. But according to Ms. Marvel head writer Bisha K. Ali, the use of the word mutation is exactly what you think it is — but it wasn’t the initial plan for Kamala in the MCU. (But why would it be? In the comics, Kamala Khan isn’t a mutant.) Here’s how Ali described the behind-the-scenes process that went into making Kamala a mutant...
ItWith Marvel, something's always a moving piece, and we're trying to solve this question of, ‘If any of [Kamala’s family] put the bangle on, would they have powers?’ The answer was always no, from a character perspective, no.’ So, right from the get-go, making Kamala different from the rest of the Khans made sense.
Obviously, no one is talking about what Marvel will do next, but according to that same interview with Ali, the decision to turn Kamala Khan into a mutant “fit into the logic of the wider MCU.”
Marvel already has a pretty hefty lineup of upcoming movies and shows and the X-Men and mutants don’t factor into them, at least not obviously. The last year or so has focused on Marvel’s multiverse and alternate reality versions of popular heroes. It’s given us movies and shows like Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Loki. They’ve all established that Jonathan Majors’ Kang will likely be the next big MCU villain after he appears in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
The end of Ms. Marvel suggests that after these multiverse stories with Kang, the next big phase of the MCU could be focused on mutants. That solves a big problem Marvel is going to encounter in the years ahead: How do you top a group of Marvel movies and shows where you get to see three different Spider-Man interact, and bring back fan favorites like Patrick Stewart as Professor X? The answer: The X-Men, maybe the most popular franchise Marvel owns.
We’ll see how many mutant teases get dropped in the next couple movies and shows. At the very least, there will have to be some kind of follow-up next year, when Kamala Khan co-stars in The Marvels movie. That’s due in theaters on July 28, 2023. In the meantime, the full season of Ms. Marvel is now streaming on Disney+.
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